What is the difference between IT Program and Project Management? What is Program Management?


By Eddie R. Williams 


What is the difference between IT Program and Project Management? What is Program Management? Has it changed for the 21st Century? No, but the lack of knowledge about the program and project management positions within the commercial IT industry is just what has led to misunderstandings about the positions, their responsibilities, and their technical and business skill sets.

In 2013, after spending time to make a difference in the industry to combat the failure of projects and programs through coaching/mentoring, making presentations and creating videos on reasons for failures and detailing significant and top ten success factors, I interviewed for several program/project management positions. With two of those interviews I became concerned with, or about, the lack of understanding of what IT program management is and the difference between a project and program manager. 

There is a difference but some professionals in the IT industry seem to think program management is just managing multiple projects but it is much more to program management and there is a career path to get to being an IT program manager.

Understand my concern. In the 1980s while program management, configuration management and quality assurance V & V were mature in several industries including NASA, aerospace, and the military, it was not in the IT commercial environment. But during the 1980s the commercial IT industry became more concerned about systems and documentation and configuration management, quality assurance and now within the past decade PMO and program management. But several mistakes transpired. In transferring quality assurance as a discipline to the IT commercial environment, some forgot the following:

  • That QA V & V is not just testing but a full life cycle process that  includes validation/testing. Issues arise when QA and Testing are not supporting up front activities…


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About the Author 

pmwj20-mar2014-williams-AUTHOR PHOTOflag-usaEddie R. Williams


Eddie R. Williams has over 25 years of experience as a program and project manager for system/software engineering and Information Technology (IT) development and management in aerospace, DOD, and commercial IT industries. He has been a Project Manager, Sr. PM, Program Manager, and Sr. Program Manager. Mr. Williams has been a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) through the Project Management Institute since 1999. Before becoming a certified project and program manager, he held positions such as Systems and Procedures Analyst (programming and creating system/software specifications), Configuration Management Specialist and Manager, Software Product/Quality Assurance Engineer and Manager, Division Administrator/Manager (development methodologies, management and control).

He is also a coach/mentor and educator, has been a speaker at numerous conferences, and is the author of:  Software/Firmware Configuration Management (Within the System Development Process), Management Control and Quality. Eddie can be contacted at http://www.itprofessionalfacilitator.com.

Learn 10 Proven Strategies to Improve Your IT Project/Program Success! Visit: www.itprofessionalfacilitator.com

To view other works by Eddie Williams published in the PM World Journal, visit his author showcase at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/eddie-r-williams/